Reader Favorites – Kandace’s Top 20 for 2016

by Maryse on December 31, 2016 · 17 comments

in Book Recommendations

It’s Kandace’s turn and she sent us this HUGELY AWESOME list loaded in detail. Quite a few that I read and LOVED as much as she did,  but she couldn’t pick just ten. I say the more, the merrier. ;)

She says:

“My top 20 of the year. That I can remember. LOL!”

1. The Man I Love (The Fish Tales Book 1) by Suanne Laqueur (the entire series) <— This series consumed me! It’s such a complex story about young love, mistakes, tragedy, soul-mates and healing. I highlighted almost the entire book. Suzanne’s words are like poetry for the soul.

“Her gravity was so strong, his attraction to her so complex and layered, he felt he was drifting in another dimension. Turning over and over like a satellite broken free of its mother planet, re-orienting itself to the center of a new universe. He ached to touch more of her, longed to pull her against him as he had never longed for anything before in his life.”

“She was a beautiful china cup on a table, quietly asking to be filled. And little by little, Erik was tipping over and pouring out.”

“Loving her felt like creating something. A cathedral. Spires and stained glass and bells. But she broke one window and I indiscriminately tore the whole thing down.”

2. An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur <— I read his book before I read her Fish Take series. I don’t even know where to begin or how to describe this book because knowing nothing is the best way to read this book. I went in thinking this would be a simple love story and it was immediately apparent this story was going to be anything but simple. IT WAS EPIC! This book consumed me! The authors voice is so unique and seductive. She plays on all your senses. I swear I could feel the characters in every part of my soul. I could feel their tears, happiness, angst, laughter, and love. I swear I could even smell them.

3. Wolfsong by TJ Klune <— Wolfsong was my first shifter book. This book is not a simple love story between two characters. As with all of Klune’s books you get the entire family. You can’t help but to gently fall in love with every character. I wanted to be part of the pack. I swear at times I felt like I was snuggling next to them. Ox was such a gentle soul and the way Joe and his family turned him inside out was breath taking. Ox and Joe’s friendship and love for each other is a story you’ll never want to forget.

4. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel by Bryan Greenwood <— This book GAH! It made me squirm, it made me sigh, it made want things that felt wrong and right at the same time! I ate this story up from beginning to end. It was at times a disturbing but yet beautiful love story.

5. Angel of Redemption by J.A. Little <— This book is one of those hidden gems we are always searching for. It’s over 600 pages long and yet it wasn’t long enough. This book was far from perfect edit wise but I was able to over look because the story is amazing! You meet Kayla is a social worker who is forced to work with Dean Wyatt from the Wyatt House Group home for Boys. Dean is an asshole! Like the kind of asshole you want to bring to his knees until he screams UNCLE and even then you may not be totally satisfied! Slowly Kayla and Dean form a friendship. I promise you’ll be rooting for these two. This is definitely a slow burn romance. I also loved the secondary story of the foster kids and seeing how their stories played out.

6. The Hating Game: A Novel by Sally Throne <—  Office romance! The banter was total perfection! Office romances are my crack and this one hit all my buttons. The Hating Game is not your typical enemy to lovers trope! It so much more. The dialogue had me giggling and their chemistry was AH!!

7. The God of Jazz: Fugue, Concord by Varian Krylow <— This was a softer story for this author. I gobbled it up in one sitting. The chemistry between Godard and Angel was hot! I loved it was a slow build. I felt like I held my breathe the entire story. Godard had one goal he was consumed with. When his perfect plan didn’t come true his world shifted and tough choices had to be made. Angel was the perfect person to help Godard discover himself.

8. Full Tilt by Emma Scott <— This book left me a puddle of emotions. I bought this book because I liked the cover. I knew nothing about the book. From the first page I was captivated. There were twists and turns. I loved the series ended exactly were everyone was meant to be! This book is best to read blind.

9. God Love Her (The Russells Book 2) by Lauren Gilley <— This is one of my favorite Lauren Gilley books because I freakin loved Sly. Like all of Lauren’s books you get a little of everything: mystery, a tight family dynamic, romance, a hot older protective alpha male and of course humor!

10. rock by Anyta Sunday <— This book was a coming of age story I will never forget. The story was touching and emotional. I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book. It is a slow burn romance that pulls you in deep. I could not put this book down. The narration was so perfection. Lots and lots of feels!

11. Wait for It by Marianna Zapata <— I want my own Dallas! I swear this book had me laughing and crying all in the same sentence.

12. A Royal Affair (Book 1 in The Royal Affair series) by John Witshire <— WOW! What an amazing story. I loved these boys so hard. I couldn’t wait to read the rest of their story. Aleksey and Niko are both so special. This is a historical M/M story. It honestly didn’t feel like a historical novel. I loved the slow build of their friendship. I love how determined Aleskey is to break down Niko and eventually win his heart. Niko is the voice of the story. But I never doubted how Aleksey was feeling. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue surrounding the boys. I loved the intensity they felt towards each other. I was worried they would never be free to be openly in love. I highly recommend giving this author a try. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so immersed in a story.

13. Lev: a Shot Callers novel by Bella Aurora <— A little bit of dark mixed with a little bit of sweet! I loved everything about this book. Her shyness, the way her protected her…and his words when he spoke were swoooooooon.

14. Hawthorne & Heathcliff by R.K. Royals <— This was a shorter story with only 200 pages but I swear every word packed a punch. This is definitely a coming of age story yet it didn’t feel all that YA! I felt I truly knew every character inside and out.

15. Sparrow by LJ Shen <— This is definitely a dark romance. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I started this book. I was immediately drawn in to their world. It couldn’t stop reading and was upset when my family would interrupt me for things like FOOD and water!

16. From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon <— it’s Amy Harmon. Do I need to say more? Her books are like a cleanse for the soul. I always feel like I’m a better person after I finish her books.

17. Predator by Michelle Horst <— This book was far from perfect but it kept me interested from start to finish. She had a lot of heavy baggage and I loved how patient he was with her.

18. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Marianna Zapata <— A perfect slow burn romance!!

19. Slip of the Tongue by Jessica Hawkins <— A hate love triangles and cheating but I floved this book. This book was pure perfection. I liked all the characters. I was rooting for them all. This story had so much angst.

20. BORDEN by RJ Lewis <— I love all of this authors books. They are my crack. They have the perfect amount of dark undertone and mystery. Her books are usually twisty romances that keep me on the edge of my seat.

Take a look at more of Kandace’s favorite:


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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Kandace M December 31, 2016 at 7:12 PM

It’s looks so pretty all together in one list!

Britton December 31, 2016 at 7:17 PM

I loved all of these too. Great list these books are perfection

Linda December 31, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Love your list Kandace. I have so many on my tbr list!!! Ugh. LoVeD Sparrow and reading Wait For It as we speak. Thank you for your input and Happy New Year!!!

bev December 31, 2016 at 7:33 PM

Epic list.
I have only read 6, 11, & 18.
I promised Fabi my first new read in Jan would be Wolfsong.
I own 1,14, and 5.
#5 sounds really good, love that slow burn.

Jan December 31, 2016 at 8:13 PM

Thanks Kandace. I’m loving seeing everyone’s favs. All so different, which is great, although a few favs keep on poppin up. I’ve just started Exaltation of Larks as my January read for bev’s tbr challenge. So excited. I loved Wolfsong and the Mariana Zapatas too, and I enjoyed God Love Her, although I prefer the Lean Dogs series to the Russells on the whole. I like the look of Angel of Redemption and I’m going to check it out. After EoL, of course ;)

Jennifer December 31, 2016 at 9:45 PM

I’m starting All the Ugly and Wonderful Things tonight. So glad you liked it so much…it’s been calling me. I love the variety of your greatest picks! Now I can’t wait to find out more about them and try them for myself …thanks for sharing!

Jean January 1, 2017 at 9:37 AM

I’ve read 1, 2, 3, 8, 13, 16, and 18! Now i have to check out the others! Great list Kandace!

Fabi January 1, 2017 at 10:28 AM

I’ve read a few and have many on my tbr just waiting in line. But I’ve never heard of Angel of Redemption and I absolutely have to have it NOW. :-) Thanks for sharing your favs and your thoughts Kandace.

MichelleS January 1, 2017 at 3:17 PM

OOH> Great list. – I have read all of Lauren Gilley’s Dartmoor books, but hadn’t considered the The Russells series. Need to go and add that to my list now.

And Varian Krylov! Need to get that one too. Love her!

Tessa January 1, 2017 at 4:23 PM

20? I have to say, there are quite a few here that I have read and loved. Wasn’t Lev just the sweetest?

All this recommendation for Sand and Ash, fine. I’ll look at it.

Leslie M January 1, 2017 at 4:46 PM

So many of these have been faves of the ladies here!

I am excited to read Sparrow as its showing up on lots of lists. Yeah!

Also, I need to bump Slip of the Tongue up on my TBR.

That’s what is awesome about these reader faves…not only do we get new recs but we get reminded of the gems hidden in our TBR. *happy dance*

DG January 1, 2017 at 9:37 PM

Kandace great list! I LOVED several of these also! Slip of the Tongue…LOVED it. Sparrow…LOVED it! Wait for It, WoW and Lev…LOVED all of them! Yes, I want a Dallas too! *sighs deeply*

Adding the Russell’s and Borden to my TBR.

Amy January 1, 2017 at 10:44 PM

Great list! I’ve only read 1, 4, and 8, but the others have my interest piqued. ;)

R. Renee January 1, 2017 at 11:31 PM

Love this list!

Grey January 2, 2017 at 10:02 PM

I think I’m going to have to have my ESP signal adjusted or something LOL! WE are all out of sync with our faces! I read 3 of yours… The Hating Game, Lev, and Hawthorne & Heathcliff.

My spreadsheet just keeps filling up. Keep them coming girls< I love it!! Thank you so much for sharing your list!!

Tasha J January 5, 2017 at 11:00 PM

Ooh Borden looks good!! I need to hurry up and read The Exalation of Larks, Wolfsong, From Sand and Ash, and Hawthorne and Heathcliff. I’ve read a few up there, but this whole list looks amazing!

Cheryl January 7, 2017 at 5:36 PM

Great List!! I’ve read several already( 1, 2, 8, 11,15, 18, 19) and I wish I had bought All the Ugly and Wonderful Things when it was on sale!

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